Errol Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KOs) unified the IBF and WBC welterweight titles on Saturday night with a split decision win over Shawn Porter (30-3-1, 17 KOs) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The two headlined the Premier Boxing Champions FOX Sports PPV, in an action-packed fight that provided plenty of thrills for 12 rounds.
Porter got off to a quick start, attacking early and often as Spence tried to keep up and maintain his composure in the face of the constant pressure. In the fourth, Porter buzzed Spence with an attack to the head and body as things appeared to be going his way.
Spence however, began to make adjustments and found success with his left hooks. The two continued trading power punches in the ensuing rounds and Porter had Spence in a bit of trouble in the eighth until Spence again settled down.
Then in the 11th, Spence connected with a left hook that sent Porter down to one knee, though managing to finish the round strong.
“I think that knockdown was the difference,” said Porter afterward. “I couldn’t come back to the corner with my head down after that.”
Final scores were 115-112 (Porter), 116-111 (Spence) and 116-111 (Spence).
“Shawn Porter is a rough and awkward fighter,” said Spence after the fight. “I didn’t get off what I wanted to. He’s a true champion. He made it tough.”
In the co-featured bout, David Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs) regained the WBC super middleweight title with a ninth-round TKO win over Anthony Dirrell.
Benavidez controlled the action, with Dirrell having some good moments in the fourth round. However, a left hand from Benavidez opened up a cut over the right eye of Dirrell that caused problems for the remainder of the fight.
Benavidez picked up the pace and took advantage of Dirrell’s inability to see clearly and slowly picked him apart until the fight was waved off in the ninth.